The Parmenides of Plato

The Parmenides of Plato

The Parmenides of Plato

The Parmenides of Plato

Excerpt

The object at which this small volume aims is as unpretentious as itself: it is no more than to supply the apparently increasing number of English-speaking students who are seriously interested in the philosophy of Plato, but have 'small Latin and less Greek' of their own, with a faithful rendering of the most perplexing of the 'dialectical' dialogues, and a few hints as to its probable interpretation. The main point the translator has tried to keep always before his mind is that it is Plato's fiction that the longer and more puzzling half of the work is an imitation of Zeno, and that this fiction ought presumably to furnish the clue to its purpose. In substance the account given of the argumentation of Zeno himself is that of Tannery, reviewed in the light of more recent work on the history of Greek mathematical thought. The general interpretation of Plato's dialogue agrees substantially with that adapted in Burnet Greek Philosophy, Part One (unfortunately, as the present writer thinks, apparently at least half abandoned by Burnet himself in his posthumous Platonism). Little has been said about the--historically important--development of a 'negative theology' out of the dialogue by the Athenian school of neo-Platonists, since their whole construction presupposes the acceptance of the exegesis of Plotinus, and it is the object of the penultimate Appendix to show that this exegesis is in principle illegitimate.

The texts of the dialogue which have been used throughout are those of Burnet and Diès. In the very few places where a divergence affects the sense the translator has explained in a brief footnote his reasons for his choice between alternatives.

A. E. T.

EDINBURGH, March 1934 . . .

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